Parsons

Honest Creativity at Work, Needed. Recycling the Old, Not Welcomed.

As a youngin you dream to choreograph any dance you want, write whatever story you want to tell, play whatever notes come to your fingers, create whatever business you dream up.  Adult reality:  if someone is not listening on the other side, your brilliant idea that everyone in the world is going to need and love will only go as far as being pleasantly accepted by your cat in your living room.  In our history, most jobs typically ask people to be confidently assured and “right.”  This goes against everything a creative venture needs to be throughout its lifespan.  Gratefully, the requirement to be “right” is slowly dissipating from work culture and greater emphasis is starting to be placed on cultivating more open, fluctuating operations for optimum growth.  Key emphasis on starting.  We, particularly us in dance and creative companies (which most companies are now striving to be), need to run full throttle in the direction of eliminating the need to be “right” as that is what precisely gets in the way of being fabulously “wrong,” “different,” and my most tragically familiar heard utterance (from 2011 from my director) “just not it.”

(Seemingly harmless, but after hearing it’s “just not it” for close to the 20th time in one two-week process in an attempt to create a 32-count duet, someone just might come to rehearsal with a chainsaw.  And that someone may have been me on that tragic day based on my level of frustration).

Bottom line, it is in the “wrong” that lies the solution to the problem at hand – choreographic concept or not.

(Why was this so hard to agree to? I kept throwing myself in the shitter for not pleasing my director.  I quickly learned what it wasn’t but in my self-loathing funk, the solution, a.k.a. discovering an applauded movement, could not even enter the equation.  My brain was preoccupied with uselessly shoving myself under a bus.)

This is precisely the mindset that stagnates creativity and production. 

This minor frustration was a telling and complicated moment at the end of the creativity-production food chain.  I have worked for dance companies that relied on the success of a creative work to stay alive and subsequently, if they were still afloat after the creation, thrive.  Damn.  That is a ton of pressure to get it “right!”  And that pressure comes from all angles on a choreographer (boss) – the press, financial backers, their wallet, ego, livelihood, friends, dancers (employees), etcetera, etcetera.   And it makes perfect sense.

Take the financial backer; they want to assure money is well spent.  Yet to stop this top down stagnation, maybe what is getting managed needs to shift.  Focus between director and financial backer should be on larger concepts and ideas, and their honest and trusting relationship. Yet, when other people’s interest, and henceforth money keep a concept alive, it is not exactly a breeding ground for venerability, creativity’s fore-bearer.  All this leads to are choreographers whipping up a product to show in a cookie-cutter way to financial backers who come to see a mid-process studio showing.  Choreographers politely package their work that should actually be in the middle of creative-chaos, just to prove work is getting accomplished, regardless of whether that work has any value to it.  And furthermore under these zero-room-for-failure circumstances, I have worked for choreographers who have had varying degrees of inspiration and desire to create – shocking!  Half the time, the pressure nipped the inspiration right out from underneath them.  The answer will never lie in trying to satisfy those pressures.  But in true showbiz fashion, the show must go on!  Phenomenal piece, decent piece, or crap piece – and best you believe, I have been on stage in front of audiences at large doing more than one of each of those.  (You know – the see-through unitard, a score that makes dogs weep, and this isn’t even touching those gems with the cheese factor…)

Cheese-factor and earsplitting music aside, one problem I have readily run-in to as an artist in the studio under the pressured throws of creating the next success, is a choreographer who wants to micromanage the material.  Now I don’t mean this in overly-managed communicated direction, but more so in the unrelenting control over the shape of movement.  It makes perfect sense.  Directors are typically types who have an unwavering vision to create a company.  They wouldn’t own a company if they didn’t have a very clear intention and supreme control over their branding and product to get the success they clearly achieved.  All very necessary, except when in the studio for the thousandth time, under the need to create something original.  The desire to have a brand and choreographic stamp over movement essentially creates a regurgitation of same but slightly altered movements to new music, lights, and costumes.  Choreographers sometimes are too afraid to lose their voice, that they micromanage their dancers out of their fresh creative potential.  Instead, dancers are forced to be creative on a concept within a very particular vocabulary.  Well hell, if the vocabulary is already so dictated, then how is anything fresh going to come about?!  It won’t.  We need to start seeing choreographers’ voices as something more abstract and deep-rooted.  Choreographers should trust that their stamp will come out on their work regardless.  It would be impossible for it not to;  it is coming from their gut and soul.

If both choreographer and dancer are focused on the growth of the concept at large rather than a specific vocabulary, then perhaps more fruitful productions will happen;  particularly for choreographers and companies that have been working together for longer spans of time, where generally expectations are high and venerability diffidently thwarted.  There is fear that people, at all levels of the process, expect a certain product.  However, once expectation enters the brains of those in the studio creating, the creation is stifled and disingenuous.

And it ain’t all on those choreographers (bosses).  Dancers (employees) need to all dare to be a bit more vulnerable.  Us dancers can tend to have our creative potential merely drip like a leak out of a hose rather than blow the top off and let our minds and bodies teleport to new realms while in the studio working in front of our head honcho.  We can be concerned about what the big boss will like rather than what could serve the larger concept.  Maybe we foolishly hold onto our need of approval to insure we keep our few-and-far-between gig to begin with.  But in that, we hold being on a director’s good side and feeding our egos over our own artistic satiety.  Screw that.  I definitely at times have fallen victim, but I truly wish I danced to the beat of my own drum.  If I was struggling to create something that was desired, I was preoccupied with the thought that I couldn’t figure out what was liked and tied my moves not being liked to not being a valuable asset in the company.  Those mental distractions prohibited me from seeing clearly in the moment, maybe it was the size of my gestures or the dynamics of them that were being shunned; observations of my movement, applied strategically, would have brought clarity rather than frustration.  Odds are, if you dance around like you don’t care who the hell sees and hold the piece’s intention in your mind’s eye or riff off of a phrase work found within the process in some corner of the studio, you will working tirelessly yet self-enthusiastically.  Then it is only a matter of time before the eyes in the front of the room take note of your internal bliss, and eventually see something that sparks their vision.  Voila! All parties involved win!

It is not until choreographers, artists, financial supporters, and the public at large can be truly vulnerable in a creative process, that these future creative ventures will fly.  So the micromanaging needs to be stopped.  Financial backers need to not micromanage what a vision needs to be full-fledged.  Directors need to not micromanage dancers in a particular vocabulary.  Artists need to not be concerned with what other people think and dive head on into the anything that might be imprudently labeled weird, stupid, wrong, and universally put as so “not it.”  So fellow artists, let’s instead look at our movement and have what’s “not right” inform our next decisions.  Let’s do the opposite and see what happens.  Let’s not get all upset, pissed, and discouraged that we can’t even make an unemotional movement decision.  And lastly, let’s grant permission to ourselves to be vulnerable and dance around like an ass – it’s only a matter of time before something sticks.  Last time I checked, feeling an ass didn’t feel all that bad.

When are you grateful?

Is it just at Thanksgiving dinner? When you earn that promotion? When you land that dance gig? What about being grateful for the crap in your life? What about being grateful for the parts of your body that you wish were leaner, thinner, or simply not there? What about being grateful for that argument you had with your director or boss? What about being grateful for when your dancing or life doesn’t quite go as planned? What about being grateful when you are struggling with a physical injury?

All of the things that come into our lives – good, bad, and even ugly – are gifts for us. Whether they appear to be gifts that are welcomed (yay promotion!) or are completely undesirable (yay injury!) we have attracted them into our lives and they have found us. (Yes, I absolutely believe in the laws of attraction and the power they hold within this beautiful and crazy universe).

However difficult it may be when something unfortunate comes up to bat, we navigate it with infinitely more grace if we swing some gratitude on it first and foremost. And why not? There is always something to learn. Adversity has its way of blessing us with lessons a hell of a lot more bluntly than Success.

This past week I had a “comeback” performance with Parsons Dance at the Brown Theatre in the Wortham Center in Houston, Texas. The company was double booked (a beautiful gift for a dance company – too many shows!).  There was an afternoon performance for autistic children that the current company couldn’t be present for – in came the retired Parsons-back-up-crew to the rescue! Those autistic children and their families have been dealt a different hand – one that will provide them unique, beautiful gifts and advancements all the same. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel immense gratitude for the state of my body and mind and how it has supported me through my life and career.

How quickly those of us who are in “good” health forget how lucky we are. How quickly we forget how amazing our bodies are – how resilient, how capable. I haven’t always treated my body with love and respect, yet it has never failed me.

Heck, I’ve starved it at times; I’ve hated on parts of it that didn’t meet the ridiculously perfect and unobtainable bar I’ve set for it; I’ve danced the hell out with it and didn’t stretch it; I’ve neglected it of the TLC of massages and baths when it was screaming at me; I’ve trash-talked to it.

Amazingly enough, it has always healed itself miraculously. It continues to stick with me after all the abuse I’ve given it.

If your body is so capable despite neglect and abuse, what is it (and are you) capable of when you are grateful for it?

Don’t let yourself suffer through poor health before you appreciate the glory of your body right now. Hardship and physical set-backs aren’t needed to be grateful for what you have right now (However sometimes they sure can speed up the process for some who can spin the positive despite them).

The more you are grateful for what you have – body and life – the more beauty, prosperity, and abundance flow right back to you.

So, before you dance, be grateful. Before you workout, be grateful. Before you create, be grateful. Before you eat, be grateful. Before you pay for something, be grateful. Before you move from your bed, be grateful. Before you rest your eyes at night, be grateful. Say it aloud to yourself. Dance your entire next class or performance with gratitude.

Share with me. What are you grateful for? How has throwing gratitude on your body and life helped you?

Become Radiant.

We are so good at measuring ourselves up against expectations, striving for control, and insisting on being on the inside.  We strive to get that promotion, hear back from that date, have a child before 35, own our own apartment with a particular address, have our children accepted into the best schools, prepare and eat only the healthiest of meals, have the clearest of skin, look amazing in that LBD for Sussie’s wedding, and obviously have all the best moves when that music starts to jive.  As dancers, it’s owning the most supreme of arches in our feet, the highest extensions in our legs, a most creative, contributive mind in the midst of a new process, a limitless sense of ballon, swift learning capabilities, the most rotated hip sockets, and assessing whether we have the perfect balance of strength and the desirable aesthetic of hyperextension.

Hello, everything that doesn’t actually matter.

Whenever we operate under these terms, we are inevitably either winning or losing the rat race.  When we believe we measure up we are floating on top of it all, but damn, when we believe we missed the mark the downward spiral is U.G.L.Y.

Rosamund Stone Zander and her husband Benjamin Zander co-authored a book, “The Art of Possibility,” (genius and an easy read if you ask me!) which unmasks the calculating persona we often hold and suggests living from our more central selves.  Rosamund eludes, “the calculating self exists in the world of scarcity and deficiency while the central self operates under conditions of wholeness and sufficiency” (83).

When we start to become aware of our calculating ways, the things that wreak of insecurity and of not having it all, we can start to operate with our central selves where we know that we live in a world of possibilities; we already possess everything we could ever need if we just choose to see the world through a more abundant, optimistically constructive, and (truthfully) more accurate lens.

In terms of dance, which I tend to see all of life be reflected, I can liken the calculating v. central self to the beloved it factor.  We all know the it factor – when we experience a performing artist – someone on stage who, for some reason or another, for reasons that seem impossible to define, we can’t take our eyes off of them.  They exude this special quality, this clarity, this pureness that is utterly irresistible.  The it factor is present when that person is being their most central self.  They are not performing from a place of not enough – not enough technical prowess, artistic competence, not enough stamina.  Or of wanting to be on the inside – wanting to be loved by the audience, their directors, the critics.  Or of measuring their perceived success – against their last performance, against their fellow dancers, against the company that graced the stage before them.  They are operating from a place of complete abundance and possibility.  There is nothing in that moment they can’t conquer, relish, and indulge in.  Even if a moment doesn’t go as planned, that newness brings a fresh possibility, an added flare to their performance, and an extra zing of excitement to their gut.  All of which captivatingly transcends to us as beholders.

Sometimes I love not knowing all the dance moves.  I take myself off the hook, a.ka. zero expectations (already a strike against the offensive calculating self).

During this past Parsons Summer Intensive, I was taking Elena d’Amario’s modern class, on the second day – so a large part of the combination was already taught and I was left playing catch up.  Crapola.  I was taking class with all the students from the intensive, who while they believed the pressure was on them to perform to their best, we believed as company members that it was our job to be as fabulous as expected, implying dancing at a high level of competence and retaining material without a glitch.  This was completely impossible in this situation.  Dancing a whole song, in which I only properly learned the second half, I was inevitably going to make mistakes.  But I didn’t care.  I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect and I knew I was only going to have the chance to do the combination that afternoon, and I was more than happy with those facts.  I had the best time performing my heart out, doing the moves I knew the best I could and either making up the parts I didn’t know (yes, making stuff up that feels right can be oh-so-fun) or doing the moves on the end of the beat as the rest of the group played to the top of the notes to jolt my memory.  I wasn’t concerned that my boss, colleagues, and students were watching me have a flaw-filled performance – because damn, I was having a good time.  In full disclosure, and fortunate for this moment, I had the privilege of being a part of the company for 5 years and did not feel the need to prove my worth and talent (hello calculating self).  Unfortunately, this was not always my mindset – although it should have been.  I worked for years, concerned about how David (my boss) and my colleagues perceived my movements and those moments only short-changed my experiences and my dancing.

And now I challenge non-dancing phenomenal women to embody their inner it factor.  Whether performing or not (and all life is a performance, is it not?! I believe Liza would agree), the it factor can shine when you are walking down the street in sheer utter bliss without a care in the world, feeling at your most free.  (Sometimes it’s with the best song in your ears, the sun shining with the slightest 73 degree breeze strutting Madison Avenue with your favorite outfit on, post-blow out.  But don’t be fooled, it can just as easily happen when you are caught in the rain, ruining your shoes, freezing cold, and left with nothing but your nearly-broken paper bag of groceries).  You become untouchable, unbreakable.  You are approachable and intriguing.  People take note of your glow.  It’s when out of nowhere you make friends with a stranger on the street.  It is when you are talking with someone you just had an argument with and you express yourself honestly, without accusing or disregarding the other’s actions or feelings.  It’s when you lead a meeting or give a speech and you are not concerning yourself with petty thoughts of your wrinkled shirt, patronizing eyes of those waiting on your words that are suppose to be of mind-shattering caliber, or whether or not you turned off your stove.  You are truly impassioned with your words of the moment and you feel so strongly about your message and its potential to enlighten and motivate others.

Stuff can happen in your performance or (if you insist…) day, that you don’t plan for and that can initially bring forth a feeling of “oh-crap,” but it need not.  If you think you need to change something in order to be completely fulfilled, your calculating self is wreaking its havoc as it loves to do.  The oh-so-wise Rosamund, suggests we inquire within ourselves as a means of finding our calculating ways:

What would have to change for me to be completely fulfilled?

Our answers often point to our insecurities and our calculating selves’ ruthless attempts of success, belonging, and control.  So boo-hoo!  If we don’t take ourselves so damn seriously, then those moments aren’t as colossal and therefore, can’t take us down.

So world, if you haven’t already noticed, a slew of women are laughing in the ugly face of control and are unleashing their most fabulous, it-moment selves right and left, so take heed…and don’t be blinded by their inner radiance!

How self-absorbed are you?

I grew up a selfish dancer.  Decades later, I remain one.  I loved mastering the dynamics, shape, and timing of my fabulous moves.  I could practice whenever, wherever I wanted, and I took complete advantage of that, be it under my desk at school, in the kitchen over a roast dinner, or in my friend’s yard while attempting a game of spud (best game ever, who’s with me?!).  Still today, spacing and the movement of a particular section as a whole with all the other dancers and with all its working parts, comes as a secondary layer.  Partnering and unique spacial arrangements are always harder for me to master, partially because it requires someone else to practice with me, but also because it requires me to think first about what movements would be ideal for another person, and for a group of dancers as a whole unit.  It requires thought about the bigger picture, not just myself.  And lord knows, I’m concerned with looking and feeling good under my spotlight.  Oh, wait, I’m sharing this down pool?  I had no idea!  Must have been too busy perfecting my battement into my fierce strut…my bad.

 

I recognize this obsession with mastery of my own body in space and time, but yoga this morning brought my tendency forward with a new verve.  Terrence Monte, one of my yogi faves at Pure Yoga, shed light on the necessity of others to achieve “success” or better put, enlightenment, aka peace, bliss, happiness – whatever you opt to call it.  You can’t be right.  You can’t win.  How do you work better thanks to the group?  Can you think of putting the group in front of yourself?  Can the dance take precedence, rather than just yourself within the work?  Or are you preoccupied solely with your dance moves over the vibe of fellow dance mates?  You can’t be in a relationship alone.  Being a good person and dancer, goes much beyond just taking care of yourself and fine tuning your temple.  You need others to get to a higher place, to move forward, to advance.  The advancements of a group are capable of so much more than you can possibly be capable of alone.  Two voices, minds, bodies, are more powerful than one.  

 

How can this translate and change the way you work in the studio and perform on stage?

 

Possibly, instead of adamantly expressing what the purpose of a certain section of a piece is, you take a second to hear what others have to say about it.  And not just let them speak and then shout your peace afterwards, neglecting their words entirely, but hearing them, taking them into honest consideration, and being open to adapt if it is for the best.  It’s not about not having an opinion.  It’s about honoring your opinion amongst others.  

 

What about focusing your energy on the flow of the piece?  Or recognizing the piece is only as good as its weakest link?  And let’s be honest, a piece isn’t going to translate unless every single soul on stage is working toward a common intention.  Maybe you help another dancer, rather than showing off to the choreographer that you have the steps and the person to your right doesn’t.

 

Even if it’s a solo, there’s an audience out there that is a larger part of what you bring forth as an artist.  What would happen if instead of having moments to yourself before you hit the stage, you put yourself in the position of your audience?  I often hit the stage, saying thanks and gratitude: that I have functioning legs, that I have this opportunity to experience these works, that I own these sensations for my own pleasure.  Self, self, and more self.  What does the audience want to see? What might they need to get out of a slump?  What sensations are they fiening for that perhaps they have difficulty reaching alone?  I’ll admit, before Parsons hits the stage, sometimes we dedicate the performance to someone who can’t be there, but after that initial moment of sending them my well-wishes and passionate intentions at our pre-show whoosh (think giant hand circle, that has now encompassed a beautifully silly set of rituals), I seldom find myself thinking of that person once the music gets blaring.  Instead, my thoughts can quickly get preoccupied with the tasks in front of me.  My entrance, my new lift with my new partner, the edit I can’t forget that we made at half hour, my nagging bladder, my costume, my loose bobby pin, my pre-set costume, my tendonitis, my toe split.  Sorry, but Pop-Pop watching down on me, wants to see the sight of selfless, unified perseverance and flight despite anything and everything.  He knows better.  And so does every single audience member.  

 

When you take the focus off of just yourself, and place it on your family in the wings, and your family in the rows of seats, you put dance in its larger frame-work and alleviate pressures off of just yourself.  

 

So, next time you dance, what can you do for someone else?  How is the new dancer amongst you feeling?  How can you help your partner?  How can you have compassion and support for your choreographer?  How can you change the mood in the studio?  How can you nourish those watching?  

 

May no dancer be left behind.  I vow to work collectively before I work on myself.  And my greedy, selfish-self is back, go figure;  I’m already grinning at the prospect of getting something rewarding in return.

 

Anxious Auditioning. Desperate Dating. Not a cute look.

I’ve spent over ten years in NYC which means two things for a young aspiring female artist.  Countless auditions, and countless dates – for better or worse, equally entertaining and heartbreaking.

And of course, hysteria ensues…

Pushy choreographers.  Pushy men.  Those too nice for their own good.  “Why didn’t I get the memo on what to wear!?”  Perfect on the outside, disaster on the inside.  Studios, and studio apartments alike, screaming for a dust buster.  “Where the hell is this audition?”  “Are we meeting at 8:30 tonight or what?”  Boho chic going to a downtown pub singing karaoke one night,  the next  swinging in heels and a fitted BCBG dining over fine wine.  Fitted lulus, downtown gauchos, and fishnets sporting red lipstick, all in one day.  Those you feel you need to endlessly impress, and it’s never enough.  “Can you shut up already so I can get in a word?”  “I came here to dance right, not just posé like a Roman statue?”  Those with lots of money and lack of integrity.  “You want me to wear what exactly?”  Those with no drive and means of supporting themselves, but honest intentions.  “$5 an hour for rehearsals?” I have my headshot.  I forgot my mints.  I’m lighthearted and laughing at my flubbed triple pirouette.  I’m mortified after pretending to be a champ, tasting sea urchin, and then nearly puking in my napkin while locking eyes over candlelight.  Horrific first impressions that surprise you beautifully.  Beautiful first impressions that disappoint.  People who fall off the face of the earth.  “Weren’t they going to call all of the final ten, and tell us either way?”  “No I didn’t pre-register but you should let me in anyway.”  “This is your uncle’s friend’s nephew, right?”  “How many more of these damn things do I need to endure?”  “Will this be the job that completes my career?”  “Could this be the man I’m meant to marry?”  Friends turned lovers, turned friends again.  Jobs had, left, and revisited.

Hidden in all the madness is me.  Auditioning and dating is a continuous experiment of trial and error to find the best fit, and more significantly, a means of understanding myself and being more honest about what it is I want out of my career and personal life.

Hosting the Parsons Dance audition and leading a mock audition at a Broadway Dance Center intensive gratefully placed me on the other side of the chopping block recently which exposed and surfaced all the emotions that typically come with it (not to mention recently snagging a handsome young gentleman putting an end to the ridiculous dating disasters!).  I watched as eagerness subtly crept in behind eyes, the tellers of so much truth.  Telling eyes and facial expressions either ooze confidence, or become stagnant with the stare of pleading for pleasing whomever is in the front of the room.  Yes, eagerness is beautiful.  It allows dancers to fight for challenging moments, pick up choreography faster, and get jumps up even higher.  However, it is in the eyes of a confident dancer where true performance lies.

Without a doubt, positive attention goes to the dancer who has the combination down pat.  It’s because their brain is quick enough to pick up material and make it their own instantly.  So if your brain is what’s slowing you down, sharpen your tool.  Get to class and force yourself into the first group.  Don’t rely on others to know the steps.  Test yourself.  Work on the combination until you do conquer it.  Attempt different strategies of learning – find counts as landmarks, grasp the over-arching movements or phrasing, utilize sounds and rhythms, name steps even if your inner dialogue sounds maddening.  (“Swirly arm thingy, leg fan big, quirky head roll, boom-kat”  You know, good ‘ole dancer lingo!)  Don’t stop striving to be your best self when looking for any kind of company, professional or personal.  Your best self will attract your best match.

And while working out your best stuff in front of company dancers and directors, staring at them makes it extreme awkward for those watching, not to mention it reads as a disconnect between intention and movement.  Why are you eyeballing the director when you should be concerning yourself with the dance moves?  Those in the front of the room have nothing to do with the cabriole you are doing center stage, and the blatant staring screams of immaturity and feening for the attention and approval of someone else.

While on a date, your expression varies honestly with what is being discussed and you give your attention to the person across from you rather than beading jaggedly from waiter, to the other girl on a date at the table over, to her beau, to the bus boy – at least let’s hope!  You focus on your lovely date with an attentive and generous intention without being obsessive or robotic.  How come our expressions when we dance can become static or horrifically “put on” when we wouldn’t ever consider it in “real life?”  Your eyes, your facial expressions, should be shifting with the way each step makes you feel.  The choreographer is not going to give you those intimate details, moment to moment, that is the job of an honest artist.  Honest art and honest dating please!

Desperation is never a cute look.  Quite frankly, it reeks.  We all know the tragic date where one person direly craves the other and will helplessly and meekly make themselves appear desirable under all circumstances.  Yes, that would be the datée who miraculously loves the same things you love, talks fondly of their well-adjusted parents and their picket fence, and doesn’t dislike a damn thing or hold an adamant opinion of their own.  Why is desperation in dance-form not as blatant?  Moments fly by and thoughts are on being desirable to the authority in the room.  You can draw positive attention to yourself without sacrificing you just to meet someone else’s expectations.  What about your expectations out of the job?  You are auditioning them too.  It is a two-way street.  Why not just be desirable by being entirely you.  What if you get the job, or the boyfriend, and then realize you two are horrible for each other because you weren’t acting like yourself until 4 months into the contract, or relationship?  Screw the authority in the room (yes, I said screw it….shameless shout out!!).  Why don’t you just act as yourself and see if they like you?  Will this job even make you happy?   You are not going to make or break yourself in an instant.  Your training has served you up until this point.  Your hirers, your date, either like what you have going on, or don’t.  So the moment of an audition is really just someone else going on a first date with you.  You’ve been doing your thang all along.  And your thang, either is or isn’t their shtick.

Someone confident with themselves, in their own skin, needs no reassurance.  Anyone can learn a kick-ass pas de bourée but no one is going to instruct how to feel while you do it, or how to have the look of piercing intensity and purpose.  Hands down, I would hire a learner, a good listener, with a zest, over an empty vessel who has down all the steps.

If it is meant to work out, it just will.  And it will be easy, because it will be a wonderful fit.  So don’t sweat how many auditions and dates you’ve been on.  Everyone’s story is different.  Don’t sweat an awkward response to what your family’s like, or one bobble out of a tour.  Not that you are attempting to get tongue-tied or travel on the wrong foot, but when it happens, it is not a deal breaker.  The one major deal breaker, for me, at an audition and on a date for that matter, is someone without confidence, without maturity, without generosity, without the ability to shift a mindset once a new set of ideas are gained, and without the ability to listen and truly hear.

And if within this honesty, you can manage to master the flawless, captivating yet “oh this fabulous person is just me-everyday-oh-so-chill vibe,” you may just have the man…and the dance.  (how’s that for your sappy ending?!)

Not getting the part you want have your tail-feather ruffled? Don’t despair!

Politics exist everywhere.  It doesn’t mean squat about your dancing.  Roles, supposedly deserved, come and go un-danced.  You work tirelessly and devote yourself fully, yet you watch in the wings while another beautiful dancer takes the lime light.  You aren’t envious of their dancing.  You are proud of the way you move and express yourself.  You hold your art in confidence, but the results of the moment don’t quantify your efforts.  And the only thing I mean here by results are the tangible advancements your choreographer grants you, weighed against your expectations.  Amazing results are inevitable when you put your best effort behind your actions.  You may work as hard as you deem possible, and it still may not result in you center stage.  The beautiful effort you put forth shines, but might not be exactly what a choreographer wants to highlight.  None of this is a reflection of your value, but man it can feel like it.  How do you not fall down the slippery slope of questioning your own dancing when the choreographer doing the choosing isn’t granting you the recognition you desire?  The challenge posed to you is to not need the recognition, and not feel less than or second-rate.  Done.  Let’s do this.  How?!

I start by saying the obvious.  I love dancing with Parsons Dance, and it is one of my dreams come true.  On the inside of that dream, I deal with not getting the roles I want – an issue that can lie at the heart of any job.  It is not that I don’t want my dear friend to have that celebrated experience on stage, but it’s the aching desire to feel value from my determination, to have an outsider put a pretty little A+ on my dancing – pathetic, but true.  I thank human nature.  Hell, as a kid all I wanted in my beautifully simple life was to have Mom and Dad tote me around, kiss me, and applaud ad nauseam at my perfected, extremely fancy leg kick with a twirl and split finish.  Now, at 28, my inner child still cries for attention and validation in moments of weakness.  My poor and pathetic ego wants to get what I want at all times, to be the star, regardless if that star role contains moves and a persona that is even uniquely me.  Despite if I know the choreography more intimately than another (again, an unnecessary and useless comparison), my commitments do not always lead me to performing the part.  Worse yet, when my ego get’s bruised, it affects my dancing.  It distracts me.  It forces half of my energy to go towards keeping my head afloat rather than all my energy being devoted to the movement.

A few months ago, having been in this respected company for 3.5 years, I found myself upset in the studio during rehearsal;  not as much from not getting a part, but for feeling misunderstood.  My inner child was crying, “Look at me! I know this dance! Don’t I look lovely! Don’t you love how I am rond de jambing my leg with such pizazz! What? Do you like her rond de jambe better?! Look how hard I’m working!”  Logic does not reign in my brain during times of frustration.  If it did, I would kindly and obviously remind myself, “Just because I know all the dance moves, it does not mean that those are the dance moves truly meant for me.”   Followed by, “You are a beautiful person and dancer, and not getting this role has nothing to do with the level of respect and value you hold, in the company and beyond.”   Instead, my clear judgement left the room, and my emotions whined and paraded around in my head and heart.  It took a walk outside during lunch, a chat with one of my beloved Parsons family members, and a severe push to get a sweat going, to leave the thoughts outside and thrive for the rest of the day.  It was the disconnect between my dedication and the “results” that brought about the treacherous slope of defeat which lead to the ultimate death trap of questioning – questioning my artistic value.

Oh god, I typed it and at the moment I wish I could erase it from my screen and soul simultaneously.  I want to demand that I never question my artistic merits.  I want to demand that I always hold my self in high value.  Yet there are trying moments, that muffle these well-known facts-of-self down to a muted scream in my gut.

My value as a person and artist is not a wavering subject.  Value can only be granted to myself, from myself, and is never anyone else’s responsibility to deliver to me.  

How often do you let decisions made from the choreographer in the front of the room influence how you feel about yourself?  The truth: sometimes your artistic and personal sensibilities are not necessarily in alignment with the preferences of the choreographer and their work of the moment, despite their appreciation and respect of you.  There will be rehearsals when you feel a complete connection between yourself and your choreographer, and there will be times when you fight to get that deep connection back.  Dancing for a company is a business too.   A business full of people who have varying sensibilities of what they like and desire.  A business filled with pleasing not only individual dancers, but board members, booking agents, executive directors, the list goes on.  You have no idea why a choreographer makes the decisions they do.  Choreographers are people.  People who are predisposed to particular people’s movement styles based on their own history, mindset, and tendencies. It may be their preference, it may be someone else’s, it may be random.  Again, someone else’s decisions cannot effect your self-worth.  Not just that it shouldn’t.  It actually is completely unrelated.  

To unruffle my feathers in times of distress, hopping in the studio, taking an open class I know I enjoy, or even trying a new class – dancing material I will never perform after those 2 hours – has from time to time, been a lovely reminder of why I do what I do.  There is nothing political or expected about open class.  I can go in, dance my heart out, and not give a crap if anyone else in the room is going to like me, I mean, my dancing (a shockingly, occasionally hard thing to separate).  The frightening bottom line about taking class for you alone?  You’ll probably dance better, with complete abandon, as you always should, and get recognized for it because you could care less for the recognition.  Politics in the studio of a job we work for can make us lose that freedom.  So get it back somewhere else.  Refresh your memory of the feeling.  Get your confidence boost and lighthearted spirit back and then kick ass back at “work.”

You are the one thing you can control and maintain.  Only you, yourself, can continuously cultivate a sense of home, comfort, sanity, and integrity.  When others rock your boat, break your ship, they’ve cracked into your vulnerabilities.  They are not welcome.  Working hard and having your passion lead all your intentions will never set you astray.  You will see results.  You will not care about roles or jobs gained or lost.  You will become a better artist, person, and technician.  More importantly, your confidence and self-value will be unwavering and take you places you could never conceive possible, and most gloriously, they will be uniquely and entirely yours.

Nerves, aches, and fatigue. Hold it together! Conquering performances like an all-star.

Performances are the heightened, amplified moments your family, friends, colleagues, directors, critics, lovers, and complete strangers get to come see what you work so hard on during rehearsals.  With Parsons Dance, our two weeks at the Joyce Theater is the one time a year I am guaranteed to perform for my New York family.  It’s my moment to show off to the ones who hear I’m supposedly a talented dancer but rudely only give me one shot every 365 days to see what I truly do and of course, have their speculations rightly confirmed.  It serves as my annual marker to see where I’ve come as a performer and as an opportunity to set a fresh intention of what I wish to accomplish out of two weeks of constant performing.

With the weight of significant performances, nerves and performance pressures can lurk, ready to snap precious and peacefully cherished dance moves without consent.  Nerves, not all bad at all, come in endless distracting flavors.  Sometimes the nervous belly pays a visit at half hour to curtain because you want to nail all your dance steps with the utmost artistic finesse.  Sometimes a surge of excitement blesses you from someone new to modern dance coming to watch for the first time because you’ve introduced them to your world.  Sometimes it’s a wave of longing because it’s the last time on stage in a certain work with the same special cast.  And sometimes it’s an absolute dire sensitivity to your aching body you must be mindful of to survive the show without a hitch.  How do you prep the mind for the nerves and focus your energy appropriately to make for the best show for those who come for proof, and more importantly, yourself, regardless of circumstances?  And “regardless of circumstances” is the kicker here because during strenuous and lengthy performance series, you don’t always feel your freshest every day, regardless of how well you wish to feel, and regardless if Baryshnikov decides to make an appearance in the house. (Hi Mikhail.  Yes, please come tomorrow.  I believe my left hamstring will be a bit stronger and I’ll be on my leg for you.  Thanks.  Kisses.)  Physical and mental states vary as your whole being is thrown to master the test of endurance from daily performances.  This means making those seemingly impossible shows, completely possible and even surprisingly enjoyable be it sprained ankles, colds, fevers, tendentious, fatigue, and soreness.  (Game on!)

So now that you’re completely curious for the reveal of my personal goals for this past Joyce, straight from my journal –  may I have the drum roll please?  Ahem…. To be fearless and selfless through generous performances.  To not fear the unknown of live performance, but to relish in it.  To be absent from judgmental thoughts.  To get lost and surrender to the moments deeper than I have previously by giving everything and expecting nothing.

A funny request, considering the chain of fun-filled events that happened within the first few hours of moving into the Joyce.   (Ahh, here come those lovely circumstances!)

Roughly three hours before curtain, as we were about to start our press call for opening night, I rolled over my already-slightly-bummed left ankle which was sprained a few weeks earlier.  Bravo, Christina.  I hobbled off stage, gracefully let out a few select curse words, iced my ankle, and let a tear or two stream down my cheek due not as much from sadness but from the utter rage of this hideous timing.  I was furious.  And when I’m angry (or tired, hungry, abundantly happy, you name it…), I cry.  I had so much to look forward to with these shows and had extensively prepared my mind and body for this hefty work load – the pieces were well-rehearsed, I had sufficient sleep, my home life was organized and armed with epsom salt, stretching toys, candles, and vitamin drinks to accommodate crazy performance life.  Yet It simply didn’t matter how prepared I was, because, pardon my french, shit happens.  I wanted to whine like a baby, and I gave myself about 5 minutes to whimper and feel bad for myself in the dressing room until I held it together and took the thankfully pitiful-sized injury and turned it into a blessing.  There was a lesson to be learned if I could quiet my temper tantrum and listen.  Justin Flores, a healing God here on earth, came to save the day and graced me with my first session of acupuncture and did some additional body work to get the minimal swelling that creeped in, down as much as possible; he had my ankle moving at more or less full capacity before showtime.  This forced me into hyper-conscious mode.  This opening night show could not be about blowing it out and pushing beyond my means.  I had no choice but to be completely thoughtful with each step, each descent from a lift, each relevé.  I hadn’t thought about my ankle much since I over-stretched the ligament initially, and this sudden and gratefully only minor glitch reminded me how fragile bodies are, how much proper strengthening of weaknesses are completely mandatory, and how completely lucky I am able to move as freely as I do.  I headed into this first show, with any opening night jitters knocked cold right out of me, and an unwavering focus protecting my body.  It was absolutely imperative to concentrate my attention, not just a task I casually handpicked for a fresh perspective, because I had to guarantee myself and my dance family a minimum of two weeks of performances.

Oddly enough, I relished in the restriction.  Taking the performance stride by stride opened a world of time and calmness.

Between moves and counts lie opportunities to make choices.  Music and movement may be swift, but there is a quiet place in the mind that can allow for space between those notes to breathe, pace yourself, and make artistic choices.  Nerves are sequestered under intense focus of a task (one way to calm down, check!).  Furthermore, any fear of screwing up a dance step dissipates when you give yourself the permission to make a mess (not striving for perfection, check!).  A successful performance for me on opening night with a sprained ankle, was simply getting through the show without having to play gimpy in desperation for a wing.

And just as one ailment heals, ankle feeling stronger, another one strikes.  Week two brought a battle with a fever and an unfortunate cold that I wearily won.  Lesson I learned here?  Whenever you are having the most significant performances, your body is put under intense rigors and inevitably unravels.  What makes you special is when you deliver a brilliant performance regardless of the circumstances, because those circumstances will be there.  How can you preserve and deliver your best when you may feel your most compromised?  How many dancers grin and bear it through tendentious, tears, foot splits, and colds?  Regardless of what you got, we all got something.  The unfortunate happens, but it also happens for a reason. It’s not unfortunate at all.  It is a gift; a blessing to pay attention on a deeper level and allow mental focus to resonate beautifully through your physical being.

And while attempting to get a grip on nerves and remain cool, calm, and collected under daunting circumstances, it also helps to redefine performances, put them in perspective, and decide what makes them glorious;  something I love to remind myself of in the quiet of the wings before showtime.

First off, no one in the world can do the pieces you are about to perform (thank you Liz Koeppen!); not critics, other dancers, and thank-god, not your brother or boyfriend.  The perspective as an audience member includes positive thoughts.  (Not once have I sat in the theatre, hoping the performers would fall flat on their face or tumble from a lift with a partner.) All the outside can see is the final product.  Not what you should be doing or could have done, but what you are presently doing, and they are on your team each step of the way.  They came to have fun and be entertained, so p.s., kick back and have a good time out there!

Next, no two performances will ever be alike so there is no point in doing the comparison from night to night or agonizing over a misstep here or a wobble there.  Fretting doesn’t happen nearly as readily in the studio, where the liberty to make mistakes, laugh them off, and carry on care-free reigns.  The stage can be known as the place where the hard work gets hidden, and ideally the elating product gets displayed without a drag.  Why that pressure?  Performances are another place you get to experiment and try something new.  All performances, studio and stage the same, are just another influencing experience.  When you reflect upon your career, you will not remember the details of specific moments as much as you will remember how you felt doing it, and those moments regardless of where they took place, when you felt particularly transformed, moved.  The beauty in dance is its replication of life.  LIfe is full of mistakes, and boy do people love to see someone win a struggle.  Who doesn’t get a thrill watching that “perfect” prima ballerina fight for that extra turn with a sparkle in her eye of sheer will and determination?  On the other hand, there is nothing worse than the eye of defeat in the spirit who lets the pressures get the best of them and lets one mishap run them into the ground for the remainder of the show.   When dance bloopers happen you should be in a state light-hearted enough to drop it, rather than wallow and crumble in its replay in your mind.

What makes for a stunning performance is the one not necessarily flawless, but gutsy and honest.  The dancer fearful of making a mistake is not going to be interesting or worthwhile to watch.  The dancer fearful to make a mistake is the only one who will be sure to fail.  You cannot fail at dance (or anything really), so get the fear of screwing up a lousy dance step out of your head.  It’s a dance move for crying out loud, not brain surgery.  And what about all those millions of steps you do right that you conveniently forget about as you grieve over your sickled disaster of a foot in one arabesque?  Once you put that fear aside, there is a whole other layer of dancing to reach and master. (But it wouldn’t kill you to put a little effort into that biscuit you called a foot the night prior, before you give it a second go-round!)

Lastly, performing doesn’t mean you throw every ounce of your energy into every step.  Every ounce of your thought and focus, yes.  However, when we vomit sheer force and fire over everything all the time it can over-power and make for jagged steps and frenetic connections.  Breathe.  Take a second.  Look at your partner.  No, really look.  See.  And above all listen.  Listen so you can learn.  If you are doing all the talking in your mind with busy thoughts, you cannot listen to the music or your partner, or the group’s connection, or your sensations.  So make a vow to listen so you can learn and adapt to each circumstance live performances throws your way.  I guarantee it will throw you a ton of fun ones.


I’ll leave you with the majority of mantras I used while at the Joyce.  I must always take a few moments to myself on the stage to check in and see where my energy is at, calm myself down, be grateful I can do what I do with a functional and able body, and focus on what I want to gain from the performance ahead, filling my thoughts with words that bring me peace and make me feel I don’t have the world to lift on my shoulders.  Here it goes!

“Surrender everything” -Me

“Save 7% for yourselves.” -Kate Skarpetowska

“Engage, Embrace, Enjoy.” -Dove, yes that would be some brilliant chocolate!

“Those who bring sunshine to others cannot help but keep it from themselves.” -Dove

“You don’t have the luxury of negative thought.” -Christina Applegate

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” -Franklin Roosevelt

“Failure seldom stops you.  What stops you is the fear of failure.” -Jack Lemmon

“Fear nothing, cherish everything.” -Me

“Take no prisoners.” -Me

“Be thoughtful. Be beautiful.” -Kate Skarepetowska

“Doing this for love.” -PD company

“I’m so grateful.” -Me

“One step at a time.” -Kate Skarpetowska

“Be generous.” -Me

“Give everything and expect nothing.” -Me

Outreach @ Terence Cardinal Cook Care Center

Julie Blume, veteran Parsons dancer, has an ongoing relationship with Eileen Fogarty who works at Terence Cardinal Cook Health Care Center (found on fifth avenue between 105th and 106th streets) and has repetitively and graciously organized a performance for the patients suffering with Huntington’s Disease.  This year, I was gratefully able to participate in this informal showing where we did segments of various Parsons pieces in the gymnasium of the care center.  Huntington’s Disease is genetically transmitted and gradually degenerates the nerves cells found in the brain.  Physical symptoms include sudden quick jerks of random limbs, facial movements, slow uncontrolled movements, and head turning to focus the eyes.  Behaviorally, irritability, mood swings, dementia, loss of memory and judgement, and changes in personality and speech ensue.  There is no cure or medications to prevent its onset and if a parent has the disorder, you have a 50% chance of having the same gene mutation responsible for its development.  Those receiving care at Terence Cardinal Cook are in the more advance stages of their disease, and our respectful and enthusiastic audience were wheelchair-bound and accompanied by those who assist in their care.  Everyone had varying capabilities and methods of soaking in our performance.  I strongly believe whether or not their eyes were focused on us, our energy and even the mere shift in their daily regimen had some positive effect on their spirits.  Many applauded and commented during and after each piece which brought added reassurance.

By far one of the most touching and enthusiastic viewers was Julio, sitting front and center, who was a professional flamenco dancer in Cuba.  Amazingly, he had much of his wit and dance knowledge still with him.  The thought of using your body as a form of expression and way of being, to then later be completely deprived of your body control and confined to a seat day in and day out is beyond comprehension.  Julio carried an air of acceptance and knowledge about his degenerative state, but maintained a glowing face and his contagious laughter.

It is so beautiful to have the capacity to extend yourself to others and this experience reinforced the gift of waking up every morning with the ability to dance.  Here are some photos Eileen took throughout the afternoon.  The dancers beyond myself who participated include: Julie Blume, Sarah Braverman, Eric Borne, John Corsa, Emily Daly, Jason Macdonald, and Ian Spring.  Very much looking forward to our next visit!

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Day One of Parsons Dance!

Today was my first official day as a Parsons dancer!  No more apprenticeship or understudy position – ahhhh, feels super!  How did day one go?  Well, I attempted to be studious with the idea of hitting the sack early and packing my bag before I started drooling on my pillowcase to insure a calm, orderly morning.  The reality?  I worked until midnight last night at the restaurant and face-planted my pillow when I got home.  The consequence was to find myself running out of my apartment with puffy eyes and crazy hair as soon as I woke this morning since my cat didn’t have any food in the cabinet for breakfast.  I returned with Friskies in tow to a meowing kitty with a growling belly of my own only to discover my fridge lacked any sort of a sensible breakfast.  I completely stole the remaining milk from my roommate. (Sorry Christie!)  Next discovery?  My laundry was still at the cleaners and my drawers were devoid of any semblance of dance clothes.  So needless to say, I made a few extra run outs and wasn’t exactly slowly sipping my tea while listening to NPR.   Bottom line?  I made it to rehearsal with first-day-pep in my step and some time to stretch out my tight hamstrings.  Side note:  my hammies have been particularly tight because I started taking these amazing, but killer, core-fusion classes at The Body where I am soon to be training as an instructor for some supplemental dance income!  More on this in a later post…

After a series of welcome back hugs and chatting about the tidbits of our summer that have been off each others’ radars, we got straight to business and Liz (associate artistic director extraordinaire) went over who’s going to be doing what for the upcoming performance of Remember Me in Chatham, NY for PS 21 (Performance Spaces for the 21st Century).  This performance is somewhat of a transition between the former and new company – Julie will still be dancing, but this will sadly be her last performance – and some dancers will actually have to learn a separate role for when this upcoming season is underway.  Always a fun mind game!  Yet, there’s no better way to have a deeper understanding of the work and be a more educated teacher.  I fortunately will be the same role in Chatham as in the rest of the season, but it is a separate role from my initial Remember Me experience (I was Julie’s role and now slipping into Lauren’s and most of the core movement is similar – phew!).

The entire company is not back in rehearsals quite yet, so it was just us new folks – myself, Jason, and Ian – along with the help of Sarah, Julie, and Eric.  Most of the day we were translating from the video and sketching out as much of the piece as possible.  We got through the first half, which included about three sections for the ensemble.  Great progress for day one, but if I never have to learn another dance off a video I would die a happy dancer.  Dance companies across the board rely on videos in rehearsal to pass down the information effectively and it gets the job done.  It absolutely is a great record of dance – beats labanotation for the purpose of disseminating movement to future members for sure.  Now to completely dismiss the aforementioned, I find it incredibly tedious and instantly my dyslexia, seemingly inapparent in my writing, comes out in full force as I stare blankly at the screen for what feels like five minutes just to distinguish if I am on stage right or stage left.  Oy!  A good practice of patience I presume.  In addition to my bouts of mental slowness, the energy and dynamism of live performance get muffled through video and I’m often stuck learning movements and then applying the layers of performance, interaction, and energy afterwards.  It is a blessing to have the minds of those who originally conceived this piece in the room to retain and communicate the original intent.  Ideally, with each learning experience I’m attempting to embody the movement in as close to the full, performance form as possible.  I am itching to dance Remember Me with full gusto and looking forward to sinking deeper into it all tomorrow and eventually with a full cast.  Damn, patience is my arch-nemesis.

Assessment of day one?  My body felt a little “crunchy” (typical dance lingo for feeling less than supple!) and I plan on getting to the studio even earlier tomorrow to give myself a proper ballet barre.  That is, if my morning is more zen than today’s fun madness!  Face-planting pillow soon!

Remember Me – no really, don’t forget! My last one…for now I hope!

Just came back from Park City, Utah after my final performance of Remember Me and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nostalgic for the constant rigors of performance and rehearsal, plus the fabulous company of gifted dancers.  Not to mention I am essentially unemployed and slightly broke!  Interested in teaching positions if anyone knows anyone hiring!  Ruthless plug I know, but desperate times call for desperate measures!  Moving on…

My movement tendency, much like my personal tendency is to do more, do all I can.  So it didn’t surprise me one bit to watch a tape of my performance at the Joyce and take notice of my exuberant energy (hate watching past videos but actually found this to be productive rather than a self-loathing experience).  During those performances while I felt my energy was high, I noted a lack of finesse in some of the finer moments.  I wasn’t able to control all the details and articulation as well because of my outward energy.  A sense of grounding and rootedness was lacking.  With these observations and some corrections from Liz (associate director extraordinaire) and David, I decided my aim for this final performance was to maintain a clear precise focus; directness to all the movements trumping an over-zealously quality.  Not to mention there was some necessity in this goal – I was winded!  The elevation in Park City was at 7,000 feet while NYC is a mere 33 feet.  Now, I thought I was in decent shape but I definitely felt the altitude’s effects, even during barre.  Everything seemed a bit more labor-intensive particularly after a flight and sitting around all day prior; my muscles were quite lethargic.  Note to other winded performers: I did use the oxygen tank at a level 3 for about 8 breaths at half hour and I didn’t feel as winded as I was during the tech run.  (Liz mentioned to us previously that using the oxygen at half hour seemed to work best for her in the past and while I don’t have any comparison it seemed to help me out).  So needless to say, efficiency and directness was my official approach to a glorious, stellar performance.

The curtain rose, lights came up, I danced around a bit, and took an ever-divine bow.  Overall, my performance was much more focused and my mind was quieter.  The constant writing and thinking about non-judgmental, present focus made it a primary importance and translated into the performance.  This clear focus in body comes easiest when I have clear focus with my vision.  Actually tangibly looking, seeing, and identifying all moments is key.  To have a clear definition of each moment in a dance penetrates to an audience and back to myself as a thorough performer.  Those tiny transitions are some of my favorite to indulge in because they give the meat of the movement its reason.  In this case, a more distinct focus helped to relax my body into the movement and heighten my awareness of the others around me.  I found ease in mind and my body when I thought, “ this is all I have to do, no more.”  I felt my body relax and I did gain an awareness of more subtle details.  I wasn’t as physically exhausted from over-exerting myself unnecessarily so the execution was smoother.

One exercise I am particularly interested in doing after all this thought about the mind in performance is to record myself performing and speaking my thoughts aloud.  It’s one thing to write about a performance after the fact, but there is significance in the immediate thoughts and sensations which are worthy of investigation.  However, so many thoughts overlap and are inexplicable in terms of concrete words.  I’ll have to think about this one…

This was my last performance for a bit so back into class, choreography, and teaching mode!

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